2017 Honda Fit EX-L with Navi Hatchback (Review)

For a decade, the Honda Fit has been one of the best subcompact vehicles available and it’s amazing longevity is no surprise for those who have experienced all that the Fit has to offer, such as excellent fuel economy, advanced technology, spritely on the road performance, a roomy front and rear cabin, spacious cargo area, and an eye-catching exterior design that is like no other.

The 2017 Honda Fit comes in four trim levels: EX, LX, EX-L, EX-L with Navi, and comes fitted with a 1.5-liter, 4-cylinder engine that produces 130 horsepower and 114 lb. ft. of torque. Both the LX and EX trims come equipped with a 6-speed manual transmission, but a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) is optional. The manual transmission yields an estimated 29 mpg in the city/36 mpg on the highway, the CVT equipped models yield an estimated 32 mpg in the city/37 mpg on the highway, and the LX yields an impressive 33 mpg in the city/40 mpg on the highway.

The LX trim includes- automatic headlights, a rearview camera, LED brake lights, 15-inch steel wheels, cruise control, a height-adjustable driver seat, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a 5-inch display screen, full power accessories, an auxiliary audio jack, a USB port, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, and a 4-speaker audio system with CD player.

EX trims add 16-inch alloy wheels, fog lights, a sunroof, keyless entry/ignition, a 7-inch touch screen display, an upgraded rearview camera, Honda’s Lane Watch blind-spot display, a six-speaker audio system with two USB ports, Siri voice connectivity, smart phone app integration, and an HDMI input, which is necessary for certain HondaLink features to function properly. The EX-L adds heated body-color side mirrors, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, leather upholstery, and heated front seats. The EX-L with Navi adds, of course, a navigation system with voice recognition and an HD satellite radio.

From the outside, the Fit appears small, but not from the inside. The entire front and rear cabin feels very spacious with ample head/legroom for taller passengers and the seats are comfortable and supportive.  The rear seatbacks can be folded forward to yield more cargo room than the majority of vehicles in its class.

Because of the Fit’s compact size, it is easy to maneuver and park in crowded places and it handles very well on bumpier road surfaces.

Standard safety features include- antilock brakes, stability and traction control, front side airbags, side curtain airbags, and active head restraints. The Lane Watch blind-spot system, which comes standard on the EX trim and above, includes a small camera in the passenger-side mirror that offers a wide and low view of a blind spot when the right turn signal is on. In government crash testing, the 2017 Honda Fit achieved a top five-star overall rating- four stars for rollover, five stars for front-crash protection, and five stars for side-crash protection.

The interior of the 2017 Honda Fit is comfortable, spacious, and there is ample head/legroom in the front and rear cabin for taller passengers. All of the controls are easy to reach and operate and the touch screen display is large on the EX trim, which improves visibility and readability. The rear seat can split 60/40 and features a flip-up seat cushion that opens floor to ceiling room for taller/elevated items. When both rear seatbacks are folded down flat, there is 52.7 cubic feet of cargo room and the front passenger seat can also fold flat to accommodate cargo up to 8 ft. in length, which is impressive and makes the Fit stand out among other subcompact in its class.

On the road, the Fit is a strong performer and feels poised on the highway. Road noise is surprisingly minimal and the vehicle navigates very well around sharp corners and on curvy roadways. The Fit accelerates quickly and is great for short trips around town as well as longer excursions.

Even though the Honda Fit may not appear that exciting upon first glance, the vehicle has so much to offer and is extremely dependable, fuel efficient, versatile, and has a starting MSRP of only $16,090, making it one of the most inexpensive vehicles in its class. The Fit represents an excellent value for anyone looking for a subcompact vehicle that is affordable, stylish, and reliable.

To find out more about the 2017 Honda Fit, please visit- www.Honda.com

 

 

 

Philippa Lane is an automotive writer, expert author for Ezine Articles, and staff writer for Cable Muse Network.

2016 Toyota Prius Hybrid 4-Door Hatchback (Review)

Without a doubt, the Prius is the most popular and distinctive hybrid vehicle that Toyota has ever produced and is a true pioneer in hybrid technology. Since the Prius was introduced in the early nineties, other hybrid vehicles have entered the automotive scene in more recent years, but none other has been able to surpass the popularity of the Prius. With a unique style, smooth handling, and excellent fuel economy with the new Prius Eco yielding an amazing 56 MPG combined, it is easy to see why it is still the world’s best selling hybrid vehicle.

The 2016 Prius has been completely redesigned with a lower, ergonomic, and supportive driver seat, increased front cabin leg and headroom, 14 percent more cargo/trunk space, improved handling, and a sleek, new exterior design.

The four-door hatchback seats up to five passengers and is available in six trim levels- Two, Two Eco, Three, Three Touring, Four and Four Touring. Also available are the compact Prius C and larger Prius V models.

Standard features include- height adjustable driver and passenger cloth seats, split-folding rear seatback, storage center armrest, hands-free entry, 4 one-touch power windows, clock, trip computer, external temperature display, cruise control, front and rear cupholders, front door pockets, overhead console with storage, front seatback storage, electric power steering, tilt and telescopic steering wheel, sound and cruise controls on steering wheel, rear view camera, interior air filtration, climate control, simulated alloy steering wheel, dual illuminating vanity mirrors, 6 speakers, AM/FM stereo, auxiliary audio input and USB with external media control, radio data system, USB connection, Telematics, and Bluetooth wireless data link for hands-free phone connectivity.

The Prius Two trim features- automatic LED headlights, heated mirrors, cruise control, LED running lights and taillights, automatic climate control, dual 4.2-inch driver information screens, 15-inch alloy wheels, keyless entry and ignition, a 60/40-split folding rear seat, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a 6.1-inch touch screen display, cloth upholstery, a height-adjustable driver seat, a rearview camera, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, voice recognition with Siri Eyes, CD player, a 6-speaker sound system, an auxiliary audio jack, and a USB port.

The more efficient Prius Two Eco comes equipped with two-tone wheel covers, illuminated keyless entry on three doors, a more lightweight lithium-ion hybrid battery, ultralow-rolling-resistance tires, and an inflation kit instead of a spare tire. A rear wiper that is standard on the other trims is not included on the Two Eco.

Standard features for the Prius Three trim include- a navigation system, leatherette steering wheel and armrest trim, white interior accents, a wireless phone charging pad, satellite radio, HD radio, Toyota’s Entune premium infotainment system with a bigger 7-inch touch screen display, real-time traffic, weather, and fuel price information, as well as easy access to apps such as- Yelp, iHeartRadio, OpenTable, and Pandora.

The Prius Four comes fitted with a power driver seat with adjustable lumbar, leatherette upholstery with contrasting white stitching, a rear cargo cover, automatic wipers, blind spot monitoring, seatback storage pockets, rear cross-traffic alert, and heated front seats.

Standard equipment for the Three Touring and Four Touring trims include all of the aforementioned features that the Prius Three and Four models have, but add LED clearance lights, fog lights, a pre-collision warning system, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and intervention, leatherette upholstery with contrasting blue seat stitching, automatic high beams, 17-inch alloy wheels, and unique rear bumper detailing.

An Advanced Technology Package that includes a head-up display, sunroof, and the Toyota Safety Sense System is available and the Prius Four and Prius Four Touring trims can be equipped with a Premium Convenience Package, which adds a self-parking system, a premium JBL 10-speaker sound system, and Safety Connect emergency services.

The interior of the Prius is simple, yet very modern with controls with easy to use controls. Road noise is minimal and both the front and rear cabin are spacious with enough head/legroom for taller passengers. Even though there are a lot of hard plastics throughout the front cabin, the layout looks clean and uncluttered. I found that all of the controls were easy to reach and operate while driving and the interior was surprisingly roomier than it appears from the exterior. Trunk space is quite accommodating and can be expanded with the split folding rear seats to haul larger items.

The Prius is powered by a 1.8-liter hybrid engine with a mixed production of 121 horsepower that is connected to a (CVT) continuously variable transmission. A plug-in version is also available, however; due to its heftier batteries, it can reach 62 MPH solely on electric power. Other trims are available, such as the bigger Prius V Wagon and the smaller and less expensive Prius C hatchback.

The 2016 Toyota Prius has a high safety rating and is one of the safest hybrid vehicles available. It comes equipped with 4-wheel ABS, front and rear head airbags, dual front side-mounted airbags, child seat anchors, emergency braking assist, ventilated front disc/solid rear disc brakes, rear door child safety locks, daytime running lights, engine immobilizer, auto delay off headlamps, 2 front headrests, 3 rear headrests, passenger airbag occupant sensing deactivation, rear center 3-point belt, stability control, traction control, rear folding headrests, tire pressure monitoring, first aid kit, an Emergency Assistance Kit, and a security system with impact sensor.

On the road, the Prius has great driving dynamics and has a stable, yet lightweight feel. A Plus Performance package is available, which improves the driving experience, adding a rear sway bar, lowering springs, and 17-inch wheels.

The 2016 Prius is the perfect choice for consumers desiring a vehicle that can be driven all day in both the city and on the highway delivering optimal fuel economy and a fast charging rate.  The Prius is also very affordable with a starting MSRP of only $24,200.

If you have been looking for a hybrid vehicle that is fun to drive, comfortable, spacious, and affordable with excellent fuel economy, then I highly recommend looking at the 2016 Toyota Prius Hybrid Hatchback.

To find out more about the Toyota Prius, please visit- www.Toyota.com

 

 

 

Philippa Lane is an automotive writer, expert author for Ezine Articles, and staff writer for Cable Muse Network.

2016 Lexus ES 350 Review

2016-lexus-es-350

The 2016 Lexus ES 350 is a midsize, 5-passenger sedan that remains a benchmark for the entry-level luxury segment with smooth on the road performance, sleek styling, plush interior, and a host of advanced technological features.

For the 2016 model year, the ES 350 received some minor upgrades, such as better sound insulation in the interior, optional bi-LED headlights, a panoramic sunroof, a restyled front and rear end, and a revised safety package featuring an updated version of Lexus’ pre-collision system with pedestrian detection.

The ES 350 comes fitted with a quiet 3.5-liter V-6 engine that produces 268 horsepower and 248 lb. ft. of torque that is paired to a 6-speed automatic transmission.

Standard features for the ES 350 include- a sunroof, driver-adjustable drive settings, LED daytime running headlights, keyless ignition/start and entry, 17-inch alloy wheels, fog lights, a 7-inch touchscreen, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, cruise control, heated mirrors, an 8-speaker sound system with a CD player, Safety Connect emergency communication system, iPhone voice control integration, 8-way power front seats with two-way adjustable lumbar, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, dual-zone automatic climate control, leatherette upholstery, Bluetooth connectivity, satellite radio, an auxiliary audio jack, iPod/USB audio interface, HD radio, and a rearview camera. A panoramic sunroof, navigation, perforated leather upholstery, HID headlights, a Mark Levinson audio system, and 18-inch alloy wheels are optional.

On the road, the ES 350 provides a smooth and very comfortable driving experience with a well-mannered and sophisticated ride quality that is similar to an Audi A6. Although the ES is not sporty, the sedan has a firm and planted feel on the road with precise steering, strong braking, provides quick acceleration in Sport mode, handles sharp corners with ease, and at highway speeds, the interior is extraordinarily quiet, mostly bereft of road, wind, and engine noise.

The interior is modern, comfortable, and the seats in the front and rear cabin are plush and supportive with an ergonomic feel. There is plenty of head/legroom for taller passengers and the dashboard and console areas are made with high end materials. The well designed analog clock and the interior color scheme with matte finish bamboo trim elements adds an elegant touch, while the large 7-inch touchscreen is easy to use and the controls are within arm’s reach.

Cargo space is ample measuring 15.2 cubic feet, but space in the rear cabin cannot be increased because the rear seats do not split and fold down.

Safety features include- dual front, front-side, and side curtain air bags, frontal knee airbags, and rear-side airbags as well as the Lexus Safety System+, which includes driver assistance and safety features such as adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning with steering assist, intelligent high beam, and a Pre-Collision System that offers  automatic emergency braking and forward collision warning.

For something a bit sportier, the 2016 Lexus RC 350 is definitely worth looking at, but in my opinion, the ES 350 is one of the best entry-level midsize luxury sedans available and with an MSRP of less than $38,500, the ES 350 provides a luxurious and comfortable driving experience at an affordable price.

To find out more about the 2016 Lexus ES 350, please visit- www.lexus.com

 

 

 

 

1480530575757Philippa Lane is an automotive writer, expert author for Ezine Articles, and staff writer for Cable Muse Network.

2016 Toyota Corolla S (Review)

The 2016 Toyota Corolla is a 5-passenger compact sedan that from first glance may not appear very exciting, but for fifty years, it has been one of the bestselling compact vehicles in the U.S., currently ranks as the world’s best-selling small sedan, and has gained a reputation for being reliable, dependable, and affordable. With the Corolla, reliability is one of its most popular strength and feature, but after undergoing a redesign in 2014, the Corolla is now better than ever with a more sleek and refined exterior, greater technology features, and improved interior elements throughout the front and rear cabin, including a fold-down rear center armrest which is available on the upper trim levels. Also, the new exterior is bolder with a large trapezoidal lower grille and an attractive taut upper grille.

For the 2016 model year, the Corolla received an S Special Edition variation, an updated Entune sound system, and a variety of cosmetic improvements.

The Corolla is available in four trims- L, LE, LE Eco, and S.  All models are equipped with a 1.8 liter, 4-cylinder engine that produces 132 horsepower and 128 ft-lb of torque. A Plus and Premium package are available on LE and S models, an Eco package is available on the LE trim, and all of the trims, except for the L trim are accessible in both Plus and Premium sub-trims.

Standard features on the base L model include 15-inch steel wheels, LED headlights, air-conditioning, running lights, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel with auxiliary controls, a height-adjustable driver seat, a 60/40-split-folding rear seat, Bluetooth phone connectivity, a USB/iPod interface, an auxiliary audio jack, and a 4-speaker sound system with a CD player.

The LE adds 16-inch steel wheels, heated mirrors, variable intermittent wipers, cruise control, keyless entry, metallic cabin accents, automatic climate control, back-up camera, voice controls a 6-speaker sound system with a 6-inch touchscreen display, and Bluetooth audio connectivity.

The LE Plus Package adds 16-inch alloy wheels, fog lights, piano black interior accents and eligibility for both an optional sunroof and the Driver Convenience package, which includes the sunroof and adds keyless entry and ignition, a roof-mounted antenna, Entune App Suite, satellite radio, HD radio, and a navigation system.  Available and optional features include heated front seats, premium vinyl upholstery, and a power driver seat.

The LE Eco Trim includes all standard features but adds 15-inch steel wheels, a rear spoiler, transmission tuning, low-rolling-resistance tires, an efficiency-maximizing engine, and better aerodynamics. The LE Eco Plus adds 16-inch alloy wheels, chrome window trim, fog lights, and an Eco driving mode.

The sporty S trim offers all of the features that the LE trim has, but adds special wheel covers, a chrome grille frame, color-keyed mirrors, fog lights, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with paddle shifters, a chrome exhaust tip, sport instrumentation, a rear spoiler, sport front seats, trip computer, and a sport driving mode.

The S Plus adds firmer suspension tuning, 17-inch alloy wheels, and rear disc brakes.  A Driver Convenience package and sunroof are options available for the S Plus trim.

A limited-production S Special Edition, marks the Corolla’s 50th anniversary and comes equipped with the standard gear of the S Plus, but adds keyless entry and ignition, 17-inch alloy wheels with a special gloss black finish, all-black interior with red contrast stitching, red accents on the instrument panel, and Special Edition badges. Although, the S Plus has a sporty design, it is not available with a manual transmission.

Standard safety features include- stability and traction control, antilock brakes, a driver knee airbag, front side airbags, a passenger seat cushion airbag, and side curtain airbags. All trims except the base L include a rearview camera.

After undergoing a complete overhaul in 2014, the exterior and interior is more refined, with a better style, an easy to use touch screen display, and a stylish dashboard.  In the upper trim levels, the 6.1-inch touch screen and bolstered seats give the sedan a more upscale appearance.  There is ample room to accommodate taller passengers in the front and rear cabin and the seats feel comfortable and supportive. Trunk space measures approximately 13 cubic feet, which is average for its class.

On the road, the Corolla offers a quiet, comfortable ride- similar to the Camry, handles very well on the highway, and road noise is very minimal. The 4-speed automatic yields an estimated 27 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway and the LE Eco yields an impressive 30 mpg in the city and 42 mpg on the highway.

Even though the Corolla may not appear particularly exciting upon first glance, the vehicle has a lot to offer and is extremely dependable, fuel efficient, versatile, and with an MSRP of only about $18,000, it represents an excellent value for anyone looking for a sedan that is affordable, stylish, and reliable.

To find out more about the 2016 Toyota Corolla, please visit- www.Toyota.com

2016 Toyota Yaris 5-Door LE Limited Hatchback Review

It is the most affordable subcompact and fuel efficient vehicle in the Toyota lineup, but the Yaris offers a lot more than just basic transportation these days after undergoing some new upgrades in 2014 with new distinctive front and rear styling, better soft touch materials on the dashboard, and improved interior tech features, including a 6.1 inch touchscreen infotainment interface on every trim level, voice recognition, music streaming, six speakers, HD radio, Bluetooth phone connectivity, a USB port, and an optional navigation system.

Available as either a sedan or hatchback, the Yaris offers a lot of choices and some upscale features that were formerly only reserved for cars that are bigger and more costly. Standard features include power locks and mirrors, a height-adjustable driver seat, air-conditioning.

There are three trims- L, LE, and the SE trim which is only offered for the 5-door model.

Standard features for the L trim include- a trip computer, air-conditioning, 15-inch steel wheels, power door locks and windows, Bluetooth phone/audio connectivity, a tilt-only steering wheel, a 60/40-split folding rear seat, a height-adjustable driver seat, a USB/iPod interface, a 6-speaker audio system with a 6.1-inch touchscreen, HD radio, an auxiliary audio jack, and a CD player.

The LE adds keyless entry, power side mirrors, cruise control, 15-inch alloy wheels, chrome interior door handles, metallic interior accents, and steering-wheel-mounted audio controls.

The top-of-the-line SE trim comes fitted with 16-inch alloy wheels, fog lamps, projector-beam headlights, LED running lights, a rear spoiler, unique exterior styling elements, better cloth upholstery, a sport-tuned suspension, sportier tires, a leather-trimmed steering wheel and shifter, and 4-wheel disc brakes.

The Yaris comes fitted with a 1.5-liter, 4-cylinder engine that produces 106 horsepower and 103 lb. ft. of torque and is available with a 5-speed manual or a 4-speed automatic transmission. The 3-door L and 5-door SE trims come equipped with a standard manual transmission, but an automatic is optional and all 5-door L hatchback and LE trims come equipped with a 4-speed automatic transmission.

The Yaris is very fuel efficient, yielding an impressive 30 mpg in the city and 37 mpg on the highway with the manual and an estimated 30 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway for the automatic transmission.

The Yaris has an appealing style and lightweight design, making the vehicle extremely nimble on the road, however it does not feel as smooth driving or spacious as the Corolla does.

Even though the Yaris has more competition in its segment, it is still one of the most reliable subcompact vehicles and a top choice for every day driving with a 4-speed automatic transmission, composed ride quality, steady handling, comfortable seats, and bigger cargo space in the hatchback model.

Standard safety features include- front seat side airbags, anti-lock brakes, a driver knee airbag, traction and stability control, active front head restraints, front and rear side curtain airbags, and front seat cushion airbags.

Interior features are very nice with easy to use controls and the seats in the front and rear cabin feel firm, supportive, and there is enough head/legroom for taller passengers. The front seats are mounted a bit high for my preference, but do help give better visibility of the road. The dashboard area has greatly improved since 2011, but there are still many hard plastic elements.

On the road, the Yaris performs very well, but does not accelerate or pick-up as quickly as the Corolla does and feels a little underpowered at times. The Yaris feels steady when navigating curvy roads and delivers a reasonably smooth ride when driven at normal speeds.

Overall, the Yaris is sporty, cute, fun to drive, and is a practical car for every day commuting.   It will definitely save you a lot of time and money at the gas pump.

In a time when gas prices have reached record levels, more and more people are looking for vehicles that are fuel efficient and affordable.  For these reasons, the 2016 Toyota Yaris is the perfect choice.  With a modern, appealing, attractive design, and an excellent fuel economy, the Yaris has quickly become one of the most popular and practical cars for commuters today.

The Yaris is competitively priced with a starting MSRP of only $14,895, which makes it one of the most affordable subcompact vehicles in its class.

Whether young or old, if you are looking for an inexpensive, reliable, and affordable car to drive, then I highly recommend taking a look at the 2016 Toyota Yaris.

2016 Toyota Avalon 4-Door Sedan (Review)

The 2016 Toyota Avalon is a full-sized premium sedan that is comfortable, practical sedan, and luxurious offering a smooth ride even on some of the bumpiest surfaces. The Avalon does not display the luxury label that Toyota’s Lexus division offers, but it is just as luxurious as a Lexus ES350 in upscale and plush interior, advanced technology, exterior design, and powerful on the road performance, but is available for a much lower price.

New for 2016 is an XLE Plus trim, all Touring models now feature a sport-tuned suspension, and the Touring Sport trim has been removed from the lineup.

The Avalon is available with either a gas-powered or hybrid engine. The base gas engine is a stout 3.5-liter V-6 that produces 268 horsepower, 248 lb. ft. of torque, and is matched with a 6-speed automatic transmission, which yields 21 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway. The hybrid 4 cylinder engine combines a 2.5-liter engine with an electric motor that produces 156 horsepower, is connected to a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) V-6, and a yields 40 mpg in the city and 39 mpg on the highway.

The Avalon comes in four trims- XLE, XLE Premium, XLE Plus, XLE Touring, and Limited. Both the hybrid and gasoline models are available in Touring, Premium, and Limited trims, but the base-level Avalon XLE is exclusively limited to the gas-powered model.

Standard features for the base Avalon XLE trim include leather upholstery, automatic headlights, power front seats, iPod connectivity, 17-inch alloy wheels, keyless entry and ignition, heated front seats, a rearview camera, Bluetooth, and a 6.1-inch center-mounted touchscreen. The XLE Premium trim adds a built-in garage door opener, improved keyless entry functionality, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and a power sunroof. The XLE Touring adds fog lights, larger wheels, an upgraded sound system, a navigation system that includes satellite radio, and Toyota’s impressive Entune app-integration system.

The Avalon has been facing some major competition from other full-sized vehicles in its segment and has responded to the challenges by making the Avalon more visually appealing, bolstering the vehicle’s powertrain, improving handling, and adding a full amount of high-tech safety features. Toyota has recently given the Avalon a distinctive look that is different from the Camry and Lexus models with flared-out rear fenders and an attractive roofline that make it really stand out.

Interior features are quite impressive too with a modern instrument-panel with flat, touch-based dashboard buttons/switches that eliminate physical knobs and buttons. The front and rear cabin areas are very spacious with upscale elements throughout and the seats are comfortable, ergonomic, and supportive. The Avalon feels luxurious, with high quality materials, elegant details on the dashboard/console areas and the rear seats are contoured and have elongated lower cushions that provide great thigh support. Rear seats do not fold down, but trunk space is generous measuring 16 cubic feet to accommodate mid-large sized cargo with ease.

On the road, the Avalon feels poised and sophisticated, not sporty, however; when navigating around tight corners it handles much like a sports car in a capable and disciplined manner.

Safety features include- a backup camera system, anti-lock brakes, security system stability control, knee bags, front impact airbags, overhead airbags, and pretensioners. A Blind Spot Monitor is now standard on the XLE Touring and Hybrid XLE Touring models.

Overall, the 2016 Toyota Avalon is one of the most luxurious full-size sedans available today and with a starting MSRP of only $32,650, it is a great choice for anyone wanting a luxury car without the high price tag.  The 3.5-liter V6 gas powered engine is smooth, powerful, and delivers an enjoyable driving experience that is like no other in its class.

If you have been looking for a stylish full-sized sedan that has a lot to offer, then I highly recommend checking out the new 2016 Toyota Avalon today by going to- www.Toyota.com/Avalon

2016 Toyota Sequoia Platinum SUV (Review)

The 2016 Toyota Sequoia is a large, full size, four door, truck-based SUV that is spacious enough to feel like a living room on wheels with ample room for a lot of people (seven passengers), plenty of cargo space,  and an impressive towing capacity up to 7,400 pounds.

Even though the Sequoia has not had any major changes for 2016, it is still a practical choice for bigger families with great on the road performance, comfortable and spacious interior, advanced technology, and quick acceleration.

The Sequoia is available in three trims- SR5, Limited, and Platinum.  All trim levels come fitted with a 5.7-liter V8 engine that produces 381 horsepower, 401 lb. ft. of torque which is paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission. A 4-wheel drive system is optional. Although there aren’t a lot of engines to choose from, the standard one is definitely not sluggish and delivers remarkable acceleration and the six speed automatic transmission performs perfectly, smoothly, and shifts gears with great ease and without hesitation.

The base SR5 trim comes equipped with standard features which include- fog lights, 18-inch alloy wheels, a deicing windshield wiper, heated mirrors, keyless entry, sunroof, roof rack, running boards, rear privacy glass, a power rear window, tri-zone automatic climate control, cruise control, a 40/20/40-split second-row bench seat that can slide and recline, an 8-way power driver seat, second and third row side window sunshades, a 60/40-split reclining and fold-flat third-row bench, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel with audio and Bluetooth controls, a rearview camera integrated into the auto-dimming rearview mirror and an 8-speaker sound system with Toyota’s Entune Audio Plus with 6.1-inch touchscreen, a CD player, Connected Navigation, Siri Eyes-Free smartphone voice controls, a USB/iPod interface, HD radio, and an auxiliary audio jack. A sport package is available for the SR5 trim and adds second-row captain’s chairs, 20-inch chrome alloy wheels, and a color-keyed grille.  The SR5 premium package adds a four way power passenger seat, leather upholstery, a powered reclining and folding third row seat, heated front seats, and a power driver seat with lumbar adjustment.

The Limited trim adds a leather-wrapped steering wheel, 20-inch alloy wheels, power-folding and auto-dimming outside mirrors, a navigation system, Pandora and OpenTable apps, front and rear parking sensors, a power liftgate, leather-trimmed doors, improved gauges, a backup camera, and a 7-inch touchscreen display.  An optional Safety and Convenience includes a blind spot monitoring system, two-position driver seat and outside mirror power memory functions. A large 9-inch display, 14-speaker JBL audio system, and a rear seat entertainment system with a Blu-ray player is optional.

The Platinum trim comes equipped with all of the aforementioned features and adds heated and ventilated front seats, 20-inch wheels, a blind spot monitoring system, adaptive air suspension, a second-row center console, a premium JBL audio system, a power-adjustable driver seat with thigh support, adaptive cruise control, heated second row captain’s chairs, a power-adjustable steering wheel, and driver memory functions.

Fuel economy is good with the full size Sequoia SUV yielding an estimated 13 mpg in the city and 17 mpg on the highway, however, some competitors have better fuel ratings.

Standard safety features for all 2016 Toyota Sequoia trims include- front knee airbags, front seat side-impact airbags, stability and traction control, trailer sway control, full-length side curtain airbags, a rearview camera, and anti-lock disc brakes. Front and rear parking sensors and a blind spot monitoring system are optional on the Limited trim, while adaptive cruise control and a blind spot monitoring are standard on the Platinum trim.

The interior of the Sequoia is very nice with a spacious front and rear cabin with enough head/legroom for taller passengers. Seats in all three rows can recline in variety of ways, are comfortable, supportive, and feel ergonomic.

Even though the Sequoia is rugged, there are a lot of elegant interior features and materials that add a touch of elegance to the SUV. The gauges are easy to use, but the touchscreen controls are not easy to reach at times. There are many areas in the front cabin to store items with a big storage compartment directly under the front/middle armrest.

Cargo space is excellent with 18.9 cubic feet of space behind the third row when the seats are upright, 66.6 cubic feet of space when the third row’s seats are folded down, and an impressive 120 cubic feet of cargo space when both the second and third rows are down, which is more than the Chevy Tahoe.

On the road, the Sequoia provides excellent and smooth ride quality, which is much better than many others in its class. The Sequoia has a solid, planted feel when making sudden turns and on curvy roadways. It is more capable off-road than most big family vehicles, however, because of the Sequoia’s large size, maneuvering in tight spaces, can be difficult at times, but the rearview camera is very helpful.

In summary, the Toyota Sequoia remains a great choice for consumers with bigger families that want a large, reliable, and comfortable SUV with a spacious interior, luxurious features, and excellent towing ability.

To find out more about the 2016 Toyota Sequoia, please visit- www.Toyota.com

2016 Hyundai Veloster Rally Edition 3-Door Coupe

From the moment the Hyundai Veloster hatchback was introduced, it was evident that the vehicle was unique and special. The only problem was that initially, the earlier Veloster models lacked speed, but Hyundai fixed this issue and the 2016 Hyundai Veloster is now available in Turbo, R-Spec, and an all new Rally Edition trim, which is similar to the Turbo R-Spec except it has additional features that make it sportier than the other models. Changes include a new LED signature for the headlamps, a revised rear bumper with new diffuser vents, a bigger hexagonal front grille and 18 inch alloy wheels that are painted black, finished contrasting splitter and side skirts with a carbon-fiber-like look.

To make the Rally Edition trim stand out from the other models, “Rally Edition” badging has been added as well as a special Matte Blue paint, which is the only color available for the Rally Edition.  It is a beautiful color and goes well with the Veloster’s exterior shape.

Even though the 2016 Veloster is such a stylish and unique vehicle, it is surprisingly inexpensive with an MSRP of only $18,000, yet it looks and feels much more expensive than it really is.

The Veloster Rally Edition has a unique style, is fun to drive, affordable, and fuel efficient, yielding an estimated 25 MPG in the city and 33 MPG on the highway with the manual transmission.

The base Veloster has a starting MSRP of $18,000 and comes fitted with a 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine with manual transmission that produces 138 horsepower and 123 lb-feet of torque. A 6-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission is optional and produces 132 horsepower and 120 lb-feet of torque. Standard features for the base Veloster include- air conditioning, a height-adjustable driver seat, LED exterior accent lights, 17-inch alloy wheels, cruise control, a tilt-telescopic steering wheel, a trip computer, and a 6-speaker sound system with a 7-inch touchscreen with rearview camera), iPod/USB connectivity, Bluetooth, and Pandora.

The Turbo trim comes with all of the aforementioned standard features, but with a powerful turbocharged engine, fog lights, better exterior design elements, push-button ignition, 18-inch alloy wheels, heated leather sport seats with intricate embroidery detailing, sporty center-mounted twin circular exhaust outlets, an 8-speaker, 450-watt Dimension Sound System, dual TFT driver-information screens, and alloy pedals. The R-Spec has a sportier appearance with some various luxurious elements and features a Turbo GDI engine.

Powering the Rally Edition is the same turbo 1.6-liter cylinder engine that is in the Turbo R-Spec model, delivering 201 horsepower and 195 lb. ft. of torque, but the Rally Edition is only available with a 6-speed manual transmission and no automatic options.

Standard safety features include- electronic stability control, 4-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, front, full-length side curtain front-side impact, a driver’s side blind spot mirror, torque vectoring control, and a tire pressure monitoring system. All Veloster trims come equipped with a rearview camera, which shows Hyundai values the safety of its drivers and the standard 7-inch touch screen makes the Veloster stand out from other vehicles in its class delivering modern connectivity at all times.

I test drove the Hyundai Veloster Rally Edition with a 6-speed manual transmission and was very impressed with the upscale interior and exterior design, sport-tuned suspension, layout of the controls, technological features, and sloping roofline, which gives the hatchback a refined and attractive appearance. Shifting from one gear to the next is smooth, almost effortless, and the Veloster feels confident at highway speeds.

Also, when I went to a Chik-fil-A drive through, an employee who was helping me said, “Is that a Veloster?” and I said, “Yes, it is” and she told me that she really liked the car and the color.

The Rally Edition also features embroidered floor mats, a short-throw B&M Racing shifter, black leather and blue-accented sporty seats, blue accents on the door panels and the center console, and gray inserts.

There is ample head/legroom in the front cabin, however, it feels a little cramped in the rear cabin, but that is to be expected due to the Veloster’s sporty style. The front seats are comfortable, bolstered, and supportive with leather material and there is enough cargo space (15.5 cubic feet) to haul a variety of small-medium sized items. There is 34.7 cubic feet of cargo space when the rear seats are folded down.

On the road, the Veloster Rally Edition has a solid and planted feel with little to no body roll around sharp corners, acceleration is quick and spritely, braking is accurate, shifting is smooth, and road noise is minimal.

When considering the Veloster, I highly recommend the Rally Edition, because it has a more powerful engine which makes driving the vehicle an enjoyable and fun experience.

The Hyundai Veloster is like a breath of fresh air with its unique design and is very different from any other sporty vehicle I have ever seen. It has an impeccable style, great fuel economy, advanced technology, and excellent performance at an affordable. There is no other vehicle like it and the Rally Edition is in my opinion the best Veloster available with an MSRP of about $23,000, exclusive features, and a solid 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty, it is definitely worth taking a look at.

To find out more about the 2016 Hyundai Veloster Rally Edition, please visit- www.hyundaiusa.com

2015 Hyundai Genesis AWD 3.8 Sedan (Review)

The 2015 Hyundai Genesis AWD 3.8 is a luxury full-size, 4-door sedan with a distinctive style, unique features, a lot of power, is a great alternative to higher priced European luxury vehicles, and is currently ranked one of the top upscale mid-size cars in its segment. The Genesis offers all of the luxury that you would expect to find in a more expensive vehicle, but for a lower price than most of its competition and delivers smooth on the road performance, a comfortable cabin with plush seats, and advanced technological features.

The Genesis is available in two trims- 3.8 and 5.0 R-Spec. The 3.8 Sedan with all-wheel-drive comes fitted with a powerful 3.8-liter V6 GDI engine that produces 311 horsepower, 293 lb. ft. of torque, and yields an estimated 16 MPG in the city and 25 MPG on the highway.

The interior is well-crafted and spacious with enough head/legroom to accommodate taller passengers. Seating is very comfortable and the 12-way power front seats with lumbar are easy to adjust, providing optimum support and comfort for long road trips. The dashboard and console areas are tastefully designed with controls that are easy for the driver to reach.  All of the armrests, doors, and buttons have soft-touch materials suiting of a luxury car.

The sound system delivers clear audio and the display and navigation settings are easy to operate with a control knob that is similar to the one in an Audi A7. The 3.8 sedan is available in black, silver, grey, blue, brown, and white with leathery upholstery. Trunk space is quite generous measuring 15.3 cu. feet, which is bigger than the Lexus GS 350, but the rear seats do not fold down to allow for more cargo space.

Standard features include- automatic headlights, LED running lights, heated front seats, an 8-inch touch-screen navigation system, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, leather upholstery, a rearview camera, push-button start, auto-dimming rearview mirror, keyless ignition and entry, electroluminescent gauge cluster with LCD information display, woodgrain and chrome interior accents,18-inch alloy wheels, power heated side mirrors with turn-signal indicators, fog lights, dual-zone automatic climate control, Hyundai Blue Link Telematics System, full power accessories, proximity key, SIRIUS XM satellite radio, Bluetooth, HD Radio and USB/iPod ports.

The Signature Package adds a power tilt and slide panoramic sunroof, integrated memory system/ventilated front seats, power tilt and telescopic steering wheel, HID Headlights/auto-dimming outside mirrors, power rear sunshades, manual rear side window sunshades, and blind spot detection.

The Tech Package adds specially made leather seats, 7” LCD Cluster Display, power driver seat cushion extender and side bolster, lane departure warning, smart cruise control with stop/start capability, haptic steering wheel, pre safety belt, auto emergency braking, electronic parking brake with automatic vehicle hold, front & rear parking assistance system.

The Ultimate Package adds a premium HD 9.2-inch screen with navigation system, genuine matte finish wood trim & aluminum trim, a heads-up display, a power trunk lid, Lexicon 17 speaker audio system, and dual mode vent control with CO2 sensor.

For the 2015 model year, the Genesis has received a more distinctive and attractive front grille which still has the beautiful winged Genesis badge on it and the steering has been re-tuned to provide better maneuverability.

On the road the Genesis 3.8 Sedan handles a variety of road conditions extremely well with a firm and solid feel when making sharp turns and driving on curvy roadways. The Genesis actually feels much more like a Lexus ES 350 than a sports car, but yet still has sporty features that make the vehicle the perfect combination of both elements.

One of the best things about the Genesis 3.8 is the big 8-inch touch screen with navigation and the Ultimate Package offers an even bigger 9.2-inch HD touchscreen which is absolutely spectacular and is the largest display that I have ever seen in any other vehicle.

Safety features include- 9 airbags including a driver knee airbag, electronic stability control, traction control, vehicle stability management system, ABS with Electronic Brake Force Distribution and Brake Assist, 4-wheel disc brakes, and anti-whiplash front head restraints. The 2015 Hyundai Genesis received excellent ratings in all Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tests and earned their highest designation: Top Safety Pick Plus. The Genesis received the top score of “good” in all crashworthy tests as well as a rating of “superior” for front crash prevention when fitted with optional safety features.

The 2015 Hyundai Genesis 3.8 Sedan has a starting MSRP of $40,500, but in my opinion, is well worth the price.  The vehicle’s high performance and luxury features put the Genesis on par with European competitors, but costs thousands of dollars less. It drives, performs, and looks like it should be about $20,000 more than it is and is an excellent choice for anyone who desires a luxury vehicle without a luxury price tag.

To find out more about the 2015 Hyundai Genesis 3.8 Sedan, please visit- www.hyundaiusa.com

2015 Kia Optima SX Sedan (Review)

The 2015 Kia Optima SX Sedan is a luxurious 5-seat, midsize sedan with an upscale feel to it and smooth on the road performance that is reminiscent of higher priced luxury vehicles in its class.  For the 2015 model year are minimal and subtle with repositioned cruise control buttons to improve driver ergonomics and an upgraded UVO 2 system with additional features, such as speed alerts, geo fencing, and curfew reminders.

The Optima comes in five trims: LX, EX, SX, SX Turbo, and SXL Turbo.

All LX, EX and SX models come equipped with a 2.4-liter, 4-cylinder engine that produces 192 horsepower and 181 lb. feet of torque and yields an estimated 24 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway. The standard transmission is a 6-speed Sportmatic automatic transmission with manual shift control.

The SX Limited and SX Turbo trims come fitted with a more powerful turbocharged 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder engine that delivers 274 of horsepower and 269 lb. feet of torque. The additional horsepower is wonderful, but with it comes a decrease in fuel economy yielding 20 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway.

The base LX trim features- fog lights, 16-inch alloy wheels, an AM/FM/CD stereo with 6 speakers, USB port, a tilt-telescopic steering column, air conditioning, power windows, mirrors/door locks, a 6-way power driver’s seat with power lumbar adjustment, remote keyless entry, heated outside mirrors with turn indicators, steering-wheel-mounted audio/Bluetooth controls, and cloth seating.

The EX trim adds dual-zone automatic climate control, 17-inch wheels, an 8-way power driver’s seat leather seats, push-button start with keyless entry, and rear-seat vents.

The SX trim adds bigger 18-inch wheels, LED taillights, a 4.3-in LCD display screen, metal foot pedals, metal interior accents, sport suspension, and steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters.

The SX Turbo trim offers HID headlights, a flat-bottomed steering wheel, a powerful turbocharged engine, and driver mode select.

The Optima SX has a powerful, yet amazingly quiet engine. Acceleration is quick and getting up to highway speeds is easy, almost effortless.  The interior cabin is quiet as well with little to no road noise. The Optima is one of the only Kia vehicles I have tested besides the Cadenza that possesses these qualities.

The top of the line SXL Turbo includes- chrome 18-inch wheels, LED fog lights, power-folding outside mirrors, red brake calipers, an 8-speaker Infinity surround sound system, UVO 2 infotainment with a rear backup camera, navigation system, a blind spot monitoring system with rear cross-traffic alert, black-cloth headliner and pillar trim, a heated steering wheel, a 4-way power passenger seat, an electronic parking brake, Nappa quilt-pattern leather seat trim, heated and ventilated front seats, a heated rear seat, driver’s seat memory, and a panoramic glass sunroof.

There are trim-specific packages available, such as a Convenience Plus package for the base LX trim that adds UVO 2 eServices, an acoustic laminated windshield, and a 10-way power driver’s seat. Technology and Premium packages are available for the EX and SX trims, which add a navigation system, heated steering wheel, a panoramic glass sunroof, a blind spot monitoring system, rear backup sensors, a power passenger seat, heated and ventilated front seats, driver’s seat memory heated rear seats, and an Infinity audio system.

All Optima models come with standard safety features, such as- dual front advanced airbags, front seat mounted aside airbags, full-length side curtain airbags, anti-lock braking system, vehicle stability management, electronic stability control, traction control, hill start assist control, and 3-point seat belts.

I tested the 2015 Kia Optima SX Sedan and I was very impressed with the luxurious and spacious interior, uniquely styled front grille, smooth on the road performance, and comfortable seating in both the front and rear cabin that feels a lot like an Audi A6 or Lexus ES 350. On the road, the Optima provides a fun and enjoyable experience and the seats provide enough cushioning for longer trips.

The 2015 Kia Optima is one of the best midsize sedans I have driven with a sleek design, luxurious interior, advanced technology, and top notch performance for less than $25,000.

If you have been looking for a stylish and spacious vehicle that is fuel-efficient, comfortable, is fun to drive, and feels like a luxury sedan, then I highly recommend checking out the 2015 Kia Optima SX Sedan.

To find out more about the 2015 Kia Optima, please visit- www.kia.com

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